Chacoan roadways in the Goodman Point region in Southwest Colorado

by Aaron T. Davis

Institution: California State University – Northridge
Department: Department of Anthropology
Degree: MA
Year: 2015
Keywords: Landscape Archaeology; Dissertations, Academic  – CSUN  – Anthropology.
Record ID: 2062018
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/132903


The interplay of practical and symbolic function is not often studied within the context of prehistoric roads or trails, and such an approach within the Southwest could provide researchers with an analog for future comparative studies. Roads associated with Casa Negra, Casa Shields, and Goodman Point pueblos, located within Hovenweep National Monument in Southwest Colorado, offer the opportunity for this type of research. An initial hypothesis is that the associated road and trail network was intended to facilitate movement between these pueblos and neighboring habitation sites and symbolized group identity. For the purpose of this research, practical function is defined as holding practical purposes such as facilitation of integration, travel for immediate needs for resources like water, and political expression. Symbolic function is defined as a specific type of function that is related to cosmological ideals or individual or group identity. To establish a functional interpretation of the roads, GIS analysis put the roads and trials in the context of the greater landscape and their associated features. Spatial analysis was also supplemented with ground survey to observe the morphology of the roads and trails as well as to identify additional paths. To establish a symbolic function, habitation and ritual sites that can be related to the road based upon a spatial analysis have been analyzed along with a comparative study with Chaco Canyon. The conclusions that this research establishes provides context for future research concerning function and symbolism within the lived landscape. Additionally, the results of this research will benefit comparative studies of prehistoric roads and trails within the Southwest as well as to build on the growing understanding of the Hovenweep National Monument.